THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - EDITED BY MARC HASENFUSS

PAST THE SELL BY DATE

SHARE­HOLD­ERS IN RAIN­BOW CHICKEN will meet on 18 May to vote on the scheme of ar­range­ment that pro­poses that in­dus­trial gi­ant Rem­gro buy out the shares it doesn’t al­ready own in the poul­try busi­ness. But there’s a slight prob­lem with that date. The meet­ing will be con­vened just days be­fore Rain­bow is – ac­cord­ing to our in­for­ma­tion – sched­uled to re­port its fi­nal year to end-March 2007 re­sults.

It would surely be much fairer if Rain­bow’s mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers were given am­ple time to pe­ruse the fi­nal re­sults be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion con­cern­ing Rem­gro’s 1 600c/share buy­out of­fer.

BID­DING EX­TRAV­A­GANZA

LAST WEEK’S CAU­TION­ARY from in­dus­trial and ser­vices con­glom­er­ate Bid­vest could only be is­sued by a group that has a fin­ger in al­most ev­ery pie.

The com­pany – headed by SA’s supreme deal­maker, Brian Joffe – ad­vised share­hold­ers it was cur­rently in­volved in ne­go­ti­a­tions re­lat­ing to a num­ber of po­ten­tial ac­qui­si­tions. What’s more, Bid­vest warns that the po­ten­tial trans­ac­tions could have a ma­te­rial im­pact on the group’s share price – which sug­gests a few sig­nif­i­cant deals rather than a string of smaller bolt-on ac­qui­si­tions.

For those of us who dab­ble in spec­u­la­tion the field is wide open as to ex­actly which com­pa­nies – prob­a­bly both off­shore and South African – Bid­vest is eye­ing. A ma­jor clue in the days ahead will be cau­tion­ary no­tices is­sued by other listed com­pa­nies. Of course, ne­go­ti­a­tions could also en­tail Bid­vest up­ping its stake in mi­nor­ity po­si­tions such as Co­mair, Cargo Car­ri­ers, Cullinan or En­vi­roServ.

More tan­ta­lis­ing is the big deal. Dare we sug­gest com­pa­nies such as the old Reb­serve Group (now owned by the Mve­laphanda Group), Grindrod, Com­bined Mo­tor Hold­ings or one of the ma­jor fish­ing com­pa­nies.

WILL VEN­TER HITCH BEE PART­NER?

THE RE­COV­ERY AT Ven­ter Leisure & Com­mer­cial Trail­ers con­tin­ues, with strong cash flows, im­proved earn­ings and a higher net as­set value of 20c/share in the year to end-De­cem­ber 2006. Now if only the group could shed its re­main­ing R15,5m debt, the profit pace would surely pick up. In that re­gard, the Ha­mann fam­ily – who con­trol more than 80% of Ven­tel – must be con­sid­er­ing a rights is­sue, which would not only bring in fresh cap­i­tal but en­sure in­creased liq­uid­ity and per­haps al­low for a black em­pow­er­ment share­holder to clam­ber aboard.

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